Benoit Badiashile's contract is next phase of Todd Boehly's 'US-style' plan

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Benoit Badiashile signed a long-term contract at Chelsea (Image: Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Benoit Badiashile signed a long-term contract at Chelsea (Image: Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

It is a deal that has raised eyebrows because of its duration. But there is clear logic to Chelsea giving Benoît Badiashile a seven-and-a-half year contract.

The 6ft 4 centre back arrives at Stamford Bridge as a 21-year-old. If he sees the entire agreement out he will likely only have one more big deal left, but even if things do not go to plan in terms of his development there is guaranteed salary.

For the club, whose previous longest deal was seven years for goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, it makes sense on a number of levels.

The deal with Monaco is about £35m and a longer contract means they can spread the amortisation payments more thinly, which helps with any potential future financial fair play hurdles and free up funds for other targets in the short-term.

But it also offers clubs a little more protection when it comes to keeping hold of their best young players. Armando Broja, the striker ruled out for the rest of the season through injury, penned a six-year deal in September that contains an option to extend by another 12 months.

Chelsea complete record-breaking Enzo Fernandez transfer after deadline day rush rridzziquridttinvChelsea complete record-breaking Enzo Fernandez transfer after deadline day rush

Chelsea would like Reece James and Mason Mount to commit to similar length contracts but negotiations with both remain open.

Longer contracts are one of the ideas chairman Todd Boehly believes football could borrow from US sports and likely a sign of things to come in West London. While it has been easy for rival fans to poke fun at some of his other ideas, such as the All Star proposal, making long deals such as these more normalised is sensible business.

In baseball, most notably, such lengthy contracts are common.

Already in their off-season Julio Rodriguez has signed a 13-year contract with the Seattle Mariners, worth £176m, and Carlos Correa has joined the New York Mets for 12 seasons in a deal totalling $264m.

It is common for those salaries to be paid on sliding scales. A player may earn £10m in the first year but find it rises each season. Or it could even be front-loaded with most of the money in the first couple of years - a structure typically for older players whose influence may be waning near the end.

Benoit Badiashile's contract is next phase of Todd Boehly's 'US-style' planTodd Boehly is using his experience in baseball at Stamford Bridge. (Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

There is, however, one key difference in that the biggest and longest baseball contracts often go to the very best players. In football there has been an increasing belief that superstars will instead focus on short-term deals to ensure there is no limitation on their options.

Kylian Mbappe, for instance, was offered an obscene salary of about £1m-a-week to remain at Paris Saint-Germain but even then he agreed to just three years. That means he will be a free agent again at 26 with his choice of the world’s biggest clubs.

Other players have learned that long contracts can be detrimental. Just ask England captain Harry Kane after he failed to secure a move from Tottenham in the summer of 2021 because he signed a six-year contract in 2018. Now it seems probably that his peak years will pass without a major trophy.

For Badiashile, who broke into Monaco’s team at the age of 17, the future is less clear. But the worst case scenario sees him guaranteed salary while Chelsea’s smaller initial outlay allows them additional freedom at a time when the squad needs major surgery.

Alan Smith

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